Hanoi, known as the millenary capital of Vietnam, is one of the most important historical and cultural centers in the country, as well as one of the main tourist destinations. Here we find the modern skyscrapers among the old buildings from the colonial era in the French Quarter, a dynamic city with its peaceful, friendly and hospitable people, an enchanted place hidden among the daily bustles like a break in a song. All these make the most demanding passengers fall in love with Hanoi.
Here are the reasons why we fall in love with this city:
To start the day, try a cup of coffee. Coffee in Hanoi is very special that you will not be able to find anywhere else in the country. Sitting in a small wooden chair, watching the motorcycles rush down the street, or from a terrace of a typical tube house after crossing the narrow alley, or observing the panoramic landscape of Hoan Kiem Lake and the local inhabitants practicing the taichi … while savoring the strong, aromatic and very unique coffee with egg.
2. Street Foods
A Phở (noodle soup) with beef or chicken, aromatic herbs and delicious soup will be an excellent breakfast idea. For lovers of sweets, you should try different varieties such as longan, lotus seed, red bean … As snacks, it can be yogurt with fresh fruits and condensed milk, Bánh cuốn (rolled rice pancake), Bánh gối (crunchy dumpling) or Bánh mì (Vietnamese bread). Finally, we must mention the Bún chả (rice noodle served with fish sauce and grilled meat).
3. Cultural, religious and historical sites
With more than a thousand years of history, the city keeps within itself a huge and priceless treasure of historical, religious and cultural values. You will find the complete presentation of the 54 minority ethnic groups of Vietnam in the Museum of Ethnology, the history and development of the arts in the Museum of Fine Arts, the role and importance of Vietnamese women as well as the matriarchal culture throughout of the country’s history at Vietnamese Women´s Museum, the cultural monument from the colonial times at the Hanoi Opera House, the history of Hanoi from the time of its founding and establishment as the country’s capital in 1010 at the Thang Long Citadel, the ancient study center of the country – Vietnam’s first university at the Temple of Literature, or the oldest and most revered pagoda in Hanoi – Tran Quoc pagoda.
The historic Ba Dinh Square where the Vietnam Declaration of Independence was first made known and the Ho Chi Minh complex where you will learn about the life of the most respected and most loved man of the Vietnamese people is also another place you must visit. In Ba Dinh Square, you can also admire the solemn ceremonies of raising and lowering the Flag.
Among the colonial-style buildings, Hanoi also has countless skyscrapers. Admiring the city from the tallest building (the Skywalk observatory at the Lotte hotel) will be a unique experience that you must include in your list.
5. Old Quarter
In contrast to the skyscrapers, we find the lively narrow streets and the tube houses in the old quarter. Each street in the old town is characterized by specific products. Cycle through the streets slowly to see the hectic pace of daily life, then test your bargain skills in the souvenir shops and in the late afternoon meet up with your friends on Ta Hien Street for a glass of beer local will be the unforgettable moments that will be recorded in your memories of this city.
6. Hidden village
To a distance of only a few steps from the old quarter, you can walk or ride a bike passing the Long Bien bridge – the first steel bridge across the Red River built in the early years of the 20th century and is one of the symbols of the city, we will arrive until the floodplain of the red river. You will find different tropical crops such as bananas, vegetables and a hidden village where it seems that time stands still and has almost no contact with the outside world.
7. Wall paintings
Leaving the hidden village, we continue cycling to the historic Phan Dinh Phung street. Along the lines of old trees, as we admire the Cua Bac Cathedral (built since the beginning of the 20th century) and then the North Gate of the Thang Long Citadel. Stop in front of the Phan Dinh Phung preparatory school, we will appreciate the mural paintings of the symbols of Hanoi. We then continue towards Phung Hung street, next to the railway line, we will find another street of murals. Prepare the camera ready because from any corner you can take impressive photos.
8. Sunset at Hoan Kiem Lake
When the sun is setting, it is also time to appreciate Hoan Kiem Lake – the heart of Hanoi, at its most beautiful. Leave the motorcycle sirens and the bustles of everyday life behind and cherish these priceless moments.
9. Cultural Shows
As the most important cultural center in the country, you will find multiple shows that will make you understand more this city as well as the Vietnamese culture. The water puppet show should be at the beginning of the list. Lovers of acrobatic arts can attend the A O Show and My Village. And those who want to know the customs and culture of the villages in the northern region, should go to the show The Quintessence of Tonkin.
10. Rooftop bar
When night falls, the city becomes very lively. Under the bright lights, sitting from the rooftop admiring the romantic West Lake, Hoan Kiem Lake or a panoramic view of the city, sipping a glass of the very unique cocktail, called Pho cocktail, you will feel more relaxed before concluding a busy day of activities.
This year, Hanoi will celebrate 66 years of its liberation, on October 10, 2020, and 1010 years of its founding. A special date right?
If you have not yet had the opportunity to come to Hanoi, why not include this city in your travel plan. You will fall in love with this enchanted city like us. See you soon in Hanoi!